Over 300 Myanmar refugees in Mizoram who were evicted from their homes last November are reluctant to return to their villages.
The conflict between the Myanmar Army and a rebel outfit called the Arakan Army resulted in the influx of around 1,600 Myanmar refugees who were rehabilitated in Lawngtlai district, about 280 km south of Mizoram’s capital Aizawl, after they crossed the border to Mizoram on November 25.
Most of the refugees were Buddhist tribals belonging to the Chin community who speak the same language as the Lai in Mizoram who are mainly Christians.
The 30 odd families who are reluctant to go back to Myanmar are apprehensive of violence which according to them could escalate anytime.
“About 300 of them are still languishing in thatched houses at Hmawngbuchhuah village, they have been lamenting tales of violence and discrimination by the Burmese Army,” Central Young Lai Association (YLA) leaders said.
Their tales of sufferings seem to have won the sympathy of the locals at Hmawngbuchhuah; the refugees said that all their houses were burnt down by the Burmese Army and they pleaded the local NGOs to accommodate them.
“We have nothing there anymore, here (in Mizoram) at least we have shelter and above all peace and tranquility,” the refugees told the leaders of the Central YLA.
The crisis erupted at Paletwa after 11 soldiers of the Myanmar Army were reportedly killed on the Kaladan river after being ambushed by the Arakan Army on the border of Myanmar’s Chin and Rakhine State, the Burmese Army retaliated by thrashing anything that came in their way and many civilians became victims of the retaliation and were forced to flee their villages.